A new in vivo termination function for DNA polymerase I of Escherichia coli K12

Authors

  • Alvin Markovitz

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, University of Chicago, Chicago, IL 60637, USA.
      E-mail amarkovi@uchicago.edu; Tel. (+1) 773 702 1627; Fax (+1) 773 702 0439.
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E-mail amarkovi@uchicago.edu; Tel. (+1) 773 702 1627; Fax (+1) 773 702 0439.

Summary

Escherichia coli deleted for the tus gene are viable. Thus there must be at least one other mechanism for terminating chromosome synthesis. The tus deletion strain yielded a small fraction of cells that overproduce DNA, as determined by flow cytometry after run-out chromosome replication in the presence of rifampicin and cephalexin. A plasmid, paraBAD tus+, prevented the excess DNA replication only when arabinose was added to the medium to induce the synthesis of the Tus protein. Transduction studies were done to test whether or not additional chromosomal deletions could enhance the excess chromosome replication in the tus deletion strain. A strain containing a second deletion in metE udp overproduced DNA at a high level during run-out replication. Further studies demonstrated that a spontaneous unknown mutation had occurred during the transduction. This mutation was mapped and sequenced. It is polA(G544D). Transduction of polA(G544D) alone into the tus deletion strain produced the high DNA overproduction phenotype. The polA(G544D) and six other polA alleles were then tested in wild-type and in tus deletion backgrounds. The two alleles with low levels of 5′→3′ exonuclease (exo) overproduced DNA while those with either high or normal exo overproduce much less DNA in run-out assays in the wild-type background. In contrast, all seven mutant polA alleles caused the high DNA overproduction phenotype in a tus deletion background. To explain these results we propose a new in vivo function for wild-type DNA polymerase I in chromosome termination at site(s) not yet identified.

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